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Digital Transformation for Manufacturing Facilities: How Enterprise Architecture Plays a Role

Manufacturers across the globe are continuously looking for ways to improve their manufacturing processes, increase resiliency in supply chains, save money on technology licensing costs, keep employees and the workplace safe, and strategically guide IT investments. The list does not end there. A recent Industry Today article discusses the way several manufacturers have leveraged enterprise architecture as their ‘secret weapon’ for digital transformation implementation, putting them way ahead of their competitors. 

What is Enterprise Architecture?

Enterprise architecture (EA) is not an easy term to define. To put it simply, it is the practice of analyzing, designing, planning, and implementing enterprise analysis to successfully execute business strategies.

CIO explains that EA helps businesses structure their IT projects to achieve desired business results and stay on top of industry trends and disruptions, such as today’s current climate amid COVID-19. This framework came to fruition back in the 1980s in response to the increase of technologies available to businesses, which prompted organizations to plan ahead to support the rapid growth of technology.

Related Blog: How (some) Manufacturing Plants have Updated Procedures amid the  COVID-19 Pandemic

In modern-day, enterprise architecture strategies reach further than just IT to ensure businesses are aligned with digital transformation strategies and technical growth, as per CIO. Guided by a company’s business requirements, EA helps lay out how information, business, and technology flow together.

The video below from Dr. Ray Ramesh covers what enterprise architecture is and thoroughly explains several EA concepts:


The Benefits of Enterprise Architecture

There are many benefits when implementing enterprise architecture, especially in the manufacturing industry. Not only can EA offer support for re-designs and re-organization during major changes, mergers, or acquisitions, it can also assist in standardizing and consolidating processes for more consistency, according to CIO. The benefits don’t stop there. EA is also used in system development, IT management and decision-making, and risk management - eliminating errors, system failures, and security breaches.

Additionally, an analyst firm conducted an analysis to quantify the potential cost savings of EA by analyzing multiple F-1000 companies to create a composite enterprise with 400 IT users and 23,754 employees. Industry Today explains they calculated that an organization of this profile “realizes EA benefits of $1,093,345 over three years versus EA implementation costs of $378,322, adding up to a net present value (NPV) of $715,023 and an ROI of 189%.”

Related Blog: The ROI of Investing in Workplace Safety in Construction and  Manufacturing

Besides the cost savings, EA is crucial when assessing technology risk in manufacturing supply chains. Industry Today shares that EA reporting tools can quickly answer the following example questions:

  • Which applications are mission-critical for factory management?
  • Which databases are vulnerable to security hacks?
  • When will the pay-per-use model project be finished?

Examples of EA in Digital Transformation Practice

Within the Industry Today article, author Claudine Bianchi, CMO of LeanIX GmbH, shares real-world examples of how enterprise architecture has impacted manufacturing companies for the better.

Global mining and manufacturing company, Vale, leveraged EA to re-tool its global supply chains in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The company quickly standardized software applications and IT processes by exposing unnecessary or conflicting applications.

An office furniture maker, Haworth, used EA to streamline IT consolidations from merger and acquisition transactions. The company acquired brands in Europe and Asia which increased IT complexity dramatically, making the integration of finance systems critical. EA allowed the company to complete an as-is analysis to then create a clear IT roadmap.

Related Blog: Car Manufacturers Setting a Reopening Blueprint for Others to  Follow

Consolidating Technology Tools in Manufacturing

Businesses often invest in multiple technologies that could be consolidated to save money. With help from enterprise architecture - or an enterprise architect - company leaders can determine what technologies are necessary and which are redundant.

For example, many companies implement several workplace safety technology tools to protect their workers, especially during COVID-19. A comprehensive mass notification solution is always considered helpful for getting alerts out to employees, but there are many more use cases that can benefit an organization.  

During COVID-19, businesses have utilized their mass notification systems to:

Coordinate COVID-19 Recovery

Coordinating COVID-19 recovery has been huge during this unprecedented time. A mass notification solution can help gather key stakeholders within the organization with a one-click conferencing tool easily allowing them to make strategic decisions on how to move forward throughout the pandemic. 

A mass notification solution can also provide employees access to critical information, allow for easy filling of shifts to ensure no staff shortages, and give workers the opportunity to send in anonymous tips – for example, if a colleague is not following the social distancing protocols and endangering peers a tip can be sent into management anonymously. 

Support Workers 

For employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, or are worried they have been in contact with somebody with COVID-19, manufacturing facilities can utilize mass notification to share available community resources to that individual, such as testing site locations, next-steps after testing positive, and more. 

Conducting wellness checks with a polling feature is a great way to connect with employees who are likely feeling the mental and physical strains of the pandemic. Employees can also self-report their symptoms or workplace violations with access to confidential tips. 

Related Blog: Why Pen and Paper is Not Enough for Tracking Manufacturing  Employee Health Checks

Additionally, a mass notification solution also can provide employees with information on accessibility to medical care, food, childcare, and other needs during this uncertain time.

Reduce Liability 

Users can send direct messaging to all staff, segmented groups, certain offices and locations, and remote workers via text, email, and voice calls. Mass notification technology allows businesses to collect data, monitor employee health status, and send out custom content such as financial resources, social distancing protocols, new overtime policies, office opening and closures, and shift changes, to name a few.

Restore Operations

The pandemic disrupted operations in all businesses, but particularly influenced the manufacturing industry. Workplaces can leverage mass notification technology to conduct automated wellness checks for employees and daily COVID-19 health screens to ensure workers are symptom-free when returning to work. 

By getting employees back to work, manufacturers can restore operations and supply chains.

Universal - Corporate Manufacturing Solution

Tara Gibson
Tara Gibson

Tara is a Marketing Coordinator on the Rave Mobile Safety marketing team. She loves writing about all things K-12, State & Local, Higher Ed, Corporate, and Healthcare, and manages the Rave social media channels. When she's not working, she's taking care of her smiley, shoe eating, Instagram-famous fur baby, Enzo!

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